WH will not trace contacts for ‘super spreader’ court nomination event

The White House will reportedly focus on those who came in contact with Trump within two days of his COVID-19 diagnosis

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It’s been widely speculated that President Trump’s Rose Garden unveiling of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court Justice nominee led to an outbreak of the coronavirus that has infected POTUS and those closest to him. Nonetheless, the White House will not be conducting contact tracing to determine the exact source of origin.

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Sources confirm the Trump administration will not be pursuing contract tracing for those who attended the Rose Garden event on Sept. 26, the New York Times reported Monday. Rather, the focus is apparently on those who were in close proximity to Trump in the days before his COVID-19 diagnosis last week.

President Trump Announces His Supreme Court Nominee To Replace Justice Ginsburg
With few wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus, Republican senators Rep. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) join other guests as they applaud President Donald Trump as he introduces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The NYT also reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been cut out of the process entirely. Experts chided the administration for its handling of the possible “super spreader” event.

“This is a total abdication of responsibility by the Trump administration,” said Dr. Joshua Barocas, a public health expert at Boston University, who has advised the city of Boston on contact tracing. “The idea that we’re not involving the CDC to do contact tracing at this point seems like a massive public health threat.”

The White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity insisted that the administration was following protocol as dictated by the CDC placing more of an emphasis on those who came in contact with an infected person within a two day period of diagnosis. Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, insisted that a “robust contact tracing program” was being undertaken “led by the White House Medical Unit with CDC integration.”

Still, contact tracing can potentially pinpoint who carried the virus. That could reduce the number of people who might contract COVID-19 out of the many who were present at the Rose Garden press conference.

President Trump Announces His Supreme Court Nominee To Replace Justice Ginsburg
President Donald Trump announces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. With 38 days until the election, Trump tapped Barrett to be his third Supreme Court nominee in just four years and to replace the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“You cannot argue against the fact that five or six people who attended that event all got infected unless you argue that that was all random chance,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, an epidemiologist and contact tracing expert. “There were a lot of people working at that event, and so they need to be contact tracing that whole event.”

As theGrio reported, there are several White House office staffers as well as the household staff who have tested positive for COVID-19.

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“I know that people in there are scared,” Sam Kass, the White House head chef for six years in the Obama administration, told the Washington Post. “I’m sure that they are concerned about their own lives and their families and feel very torn about balancing their responsibilities to their country, as they see it, and putting themselves in harm’s way.”

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